Blues looking for a more complete game

Blues looking for a more complete game

Credit: Getty Images

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 30: Brian Elliott #1 of the St. Louis Blues clears the puck after allowing a goal against the Los Angeles Kings in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scottrade Center on April 30, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

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by Andrew Allsman / HockeyStL

KMOV.com

Posted on May 2, 2012 at 6:20 AM

(HockeyStL) -- After dropping games one and two on home ice, the Blues are looking for more from their team, and know that unless their game is elevated dramatically, this series could be over as soon as Sunday.
 
“We’ve got some looking in the mirror to do, regrouping, and we need to make some changes so that we are better,” said Blues captain David Backes.
 
The Blues are off until Thursday evening and are hoping that the two day layoff will do them good; after all, it couldn’t get much worse for them.
 
The Blues managed to lose both games one and two on home ice, with the latter being the biggest disappointment. But the Blues are not going to dwell on those losses, and will focus on the games at hand.
 
“That’s the good thing about the playoffs, it’s one game, it’s one loss. Move on,” said head coach Ken Hitchcock.  “Our job right now is to get this back to our fans here, so we’ve got to win one of the next two games and get back here.  We’ve played awfully well on the road in the playoffs.  It’s only one loss.  The way we played in the first doesn’t feel good, the way we played on the power play doesn’t feel good, but we’ve got two days to regroup here.”
 
Winning against the red hot Kings will not be an easy task for the Blues as they found out in the first two games, but the Blues are too good a team to lose two straight on home ice, but the problem isn’t skill, it's work effort.
 
“We just need better play from more guys and more willingness to sacrifice for the good of the team, and if we do that, I love our team, and we’ve got tons of character,” said Backes.
 
The Blues are averaging 1.50 goal(s) per game against the Kings.  This is fewer goals scored per game than the Kings’ first round opponent, the Vancouver Canucks, were able to score.  The Kings went on to beat the Canucks in five games.  Ken Hitchcock says the Blues are trying to be too creative on offense, and it’s working against them.
 
“The game is at a furious pace, we’ve just got to get it deep.  We try to make an extra play.  We are trying to create something from nothing, and next thing you know we are picking it out of our net.  I think that’s an attitude, we are trying to force offense.  When you try to force offense, when you try to play east to west against this team, they check too well and two of them (the pucks) ended up in the net.  The same way we finished game one is how we started game two.”
 
There is certainly a correlation between games one and two as Hitchcock pointed out, but the problem stems much deeper than creativity.
 
“There are some obvious things that we have to address,” said Hitchcock. The power play is costing us in a big way so we are going to have to address that.  Shorthanded goals (are) taking away a lot of momentum, careless play by us.”
 
To be exact, the Kings have converted more short-handed than the Blues have with the man advantage.  The Blues are 0 for 12 with the man advantage, and have allowed two shorthanded goals against in this young series. 
 
It appears that the Blues have decided to stray from Hitch’s game plan lately, and are learning that it can be harsh to do so, but they must get back on the same page in the next two days, or risk a second round elimination.  It is no longer about strategy, the Blues know what is expected of them, it is now about teamwork, stepping up and finding ways to contribute in order to win.
 
“Xs and Os and films, we’ve done that to death, it’s about fortitude, coming together as a group and going to the hard areas,” said Backes.
 
“All you can do is ask for your best,” said Hitchcock. And (Monday) wasn’t our best.”

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